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Vermont Preview

Vermont Catamounts 2-4-2 (2-4-2) 6th Hockey East

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Massachusetts Minutemen 3-5-1 (2-5-1) T-7th Hockey East

Only a chance for an abbreviated preview due to the odd scheduling of the last few days. However I think it’s safe to say that most fans are surprised that Vermont comes into the traditional Turkey Tuesday Tilt as the better team in the Hockey East standings than UMass. The Catamounts were not expected to do much, picked last in the conference by just about everyone. But they come into tomorrow’s game in 6th place gaining two wins and two ties in their 8 games so far.

The Catamounts six league points is only one less than what they accumulated all of last season. So far they’ve gained ties on the road with Lowell and Merrimack to go with home wins over Providence and Northeastern this past Sunday. It’s pretty easy to see the key to Vermont’s success so far. When they’ve been able to hold their opponents to two or less goals, they’ve won or tied. In all their losses their opponents have scored three goals or more. To help keep their opponents off the board UVM has gotten solid goaltending from freshman Brody Hoffman who has started all eight games for them. Thus far he has a 2.78 goals against average to go with a .910 save percentage.

Vermont is still struggling on offense though, putting just 1.88 goals per game in their opponents’ net. However UMass will have to keep an eye on their power play which is converting at a respectable 18.1% so far this season. Offensively Vermont is led by senior Chris McCarthy who has four goals to go with three assists this season. Junior forward Pete Massar is the only other Catamount with multiple goals with two.

For UMass the trick to winning is to show up and play like the game means something. Now I don’t want to diminish some of the factors affecting the team currently, like the wacky schedule and having players dealing with mid-season injuries. But there’s absolutely no excuse for what fans witnessed on Sunday. Tomorrow should be a battle of competing motivations. With a win Vermont perhaps could be looking to send a message to their former coaching staff; John Micheletto, Joey Gasparini, and John Gobeil. UMass on the other hand should look to send a message that Sunday was an embarrassing aberration that will not happen again. Last Friday UMass was ahead of three teams in the standings; Maine, Lowell, and Vermont. Just a few days later Maine has gained ground, Lowell is now tied with UMass in 7th place, and Vermont is actually ahead of UMass currently. A loss would be unspeakable at this stage of the season and would mean that the Minutemen will have garnered just one point against those three teams in the course of five days. I don’t like thinking of games in November as must-win, but tomorrow may just be that.

Beer The Triangle
Unfortunately between work and the horror that is Thanksgiving week traffic, there’s no way I can make it to Amherst in time to watch the game. That means I’ll be sitting at home, listening to Brock and Adam, and cracking open a beer. First up will likely be a Dogfish Head 90 Minute courtesy of UMasshoops.com legend Swampy.

First up, let’s put the nail in the coffin of last night.

The Republican’s Dick Baker has his game story.

College Hockey News has their takeaways.

Looking ahead to tomorrow we have the preview from the Gazette.

Micheletto is treating tomorrow’s matchup against his former team like any other game per the Republican.

Vermont is ready for familiar faces reads the headline of the Burlington Free Press’ preview.

Not surprisingly UMass is no longer receiving votes in the USCHO poll. They also got shutout of any awards or Top Performers in this week’s Hockey East honors.

T.J. Syner scored his first AHL goal.

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